Friday, July 1, 2011

Luther and Natural Law

I'm supposed to lay paving stones, but such slave labor is not my favorite thing and thus have detoured myself to a new book.  "Natural Law:  a Lutheran Reappraisal."

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This book contains a collection  of essays on the subject by a number of current authors, some of whom or their families I know via Facebook.  The world has shrunk and scholarship is amazing.

The essay I just finished is titled:  "Luther's Pragmatic Appropriation of the Natural Law Tradition" by Thomas D. Pearson who is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas.  It delineates what Luther rejects and affirms in the Natural Law Tradition.  Apparently, he makes quite a mish-mash out of it over the course of his career, yet it becomes clear that he does believe in the existence of something called "natural law". (p. 49).  The essay finishes with this summary:  "Ultimately, Luther creates a new account of natural law morality:  instinctive, not rational;  provisional, not ontologically secured;  pragmatic, not divinely commanded;  chastened by sin, not robust with natural human possibilities.  When Luther invokes natural law, it is with a different insight than that supplied to him by the classical natural law tradition." (p. 63).

So much for that.

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